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What you need to know about the HOS changes coming on Sep. 29

09.24.2020 - 12:08 PM Comments: 0

With the FMCSA's hours of service reforms set to take effect on Sep. 29, truckers can reportedly look forward to an increased flexibility with their hours of service.

So, let’s go through some of the primary changes that will affect you and your fleet.

Breaks

First, let’s discuss the changes made to breaks. Rather than taking a 30-minute break on off-duty status, truckers are now allowed to take their break using on-duty status after 8 consecutive hours of driving.

Essentially, while a 30-minute break is still required after 8 hours, it no longer requires drivers to completely stop working. Because it’s now considered on-duty, drivers can perform other duties besides driving.

It’s also important to note that the FMCSA is also working on an additional pilot program involving breaks. The program allows participating drivers one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes to three hours that would allow truckers to pause their 14-hour driving window. 

While any update to the rule is likely to come years down the road, it will be interesting to see what the results of the pilot program ultimately achieve.

Split Sleeper

The split sleeper rule has always been a tricky one to figure out throughout the industry. Nevertheless, those that have mastered its usage and complexities have found solid flexibility with their hours of service while remaining productive and most importantly, profitable.

With the new rule, drivers will no longer be solely required to split their sleeper berth hours 8/2, as they can now split them 7/3. 

Adverse driving conditions

Another rule that was changed was the adverse driving conditions exception. Rather than just upgrade drive time from 11 to 13 hours, the maximum driving window will also increase 2 hours, from 14 to 16 hours.

Short Haul

The short-haul exception was also updated to extend hours and distance. Short-haul truckers can now be on-duty for 14 hours and operate within 150 air miles.

Praise

As components of the updates had begun to surface, many notable organizations such as the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) lauded the changes and showed their support for their implementation.

The praise continued once the changes were finalized as well, with ATA President and CEO Chris Spear noting that the rule will result in “needed flexibility” for truckers.

OOIDA’s Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh also echoed these sentiments, saying that while the organization was working towards getting some additional changes, they’re ultimately content with the final rule, according to Land Line Magazine.

Because the rule has been met with near-universal approval, there is hope that truckers will be the ones to benefit most from this updated hours of service rule. Nevertheless, as the date for the rule taking effect nears, it’ll be important for trucking companies and drivers alike to become acquainted with the changes to get the most out of them.

So, what do you think about the changes? Let us know on social media or in the comments below!

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